CHICAGO – Catholic bishops from the United States will begin 2019 with seven days of spiritual reflection and retreat. The bishops are gathered on the grounds of the University of St. Mary of the Lake at Mundelein Seminary north of Chicago from January 2 to 8, 2019.
Preacher to the Papal Household, Capuchin Friar Father Raniero Cantalamessa, O.F.M. Cap., is directing the retreat. The retreat is themed around the phrase “He appointed Twelve, to be with Him and to Send Out to Preach.” Father Cantalamessa’s reflections are based on Mark 3:14.
The retreat comes at the invitation of Pope Francis to pause in prayer as the Church seeks to respond to the sex abuse scandals that rocked the Church in 2018.
Cardinal DiNardo, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, is grateful for the opportunity for retreat.
“I am grateful to the Holy Father for calling the bishops and me to step back and enter into this focused time of listening to God as we respond to the intense matters before us in the weeks and months ahead,” he wrote in an official statement from the USCCB. “I also humbly ask the laity, our priests and religious for your prayers for my brother bishops and me as we join in solidarity to seek wisdom and guidance from the Holy Spirit. Pray also for the survivors of sexual abuse that their suffering may serve to strengthen us all for the hard task of rooting out a terrible evil from our Church and our society so that such suffering is never multiplied.”
The week is structured around reflection, daily Mass, Eucharistic adoration, vespers, and the opportunity for confession.
Organizers of the retreat say the main focus of the retreat will be on spiritual reflection, not on creating new policies to combat scandal. The next business meeting for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is scheduled for June 2019.